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Unlocking Malaysia’s Potential: A Guide to Medical Tourism in Malaysia

For the first half of 2023, Malaysia’s healthcare travel industry recorded revenue of over RM900 million. It is projected to make a full recovery to its 2019 pre-pandemic performance level of RM1. 7 billion, potentially setting a new record for the industry,” says Farizal Jaafar  ( MHTC acting CEO )

“We will explore more niche markets to strengthen our presence,” says Farizal, explaining that the medical healthcare segment’s new phase will also see a focus on both curative and preventive treatments as well as several niche branding initiatives such as those of cardiology, oncology, fertility and dental treatments as well as premium and scientific wellness offerings.

In addition, MHTC intends to collaborate with key industry players to develop a comprehensive elderly wellness programme, he adds.

MHTC and four wellness residences aim to develop Malaysia’s retirement living segment

The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) is collaborating with four integrated wellness residences in Kuala Lumpur to promote Malaysia as a destination for active retirement living.  Retirement living is a niche segment of the healthcare industry. The four wellness residences in Malaysia involved in this area are Domitys Bangsar, Komune Living & Wellness, ReU Living, and Sunway Sanctuary

  • Domitys is a brand collaboration between The Ascott Limited and Singapore’s CapitaLand Investment Group.
  • Komune Living & Wellness is Southeast Asia’s largest co-living and wellness hotel. It contains a separate wellness centre that provides senior care and traditional Chinese medicine. 
  • ReU Living is a joint venture between Tan & Tan Developments Berhad and Meaningful Life Sdn Bhd.  Tan & Tan Developments Berhad and Meaningfull Life Sdn Bhd collaborated to create ReU Living. It provides rehabilitation, rejuvenation, renewal, restoration, leisure, and retirement services. 
  • Sunway Sanctuary provides senior living as well as easy access to healthcare through Sunway Medical Centre. 

MHTC is exploring tailored active senior care and wellness solutions to establish Malaysia as a premier destination for active retirement living.  It has established a pilot programme called “Rejuvenate with Malaysia Healthcare” to address the difficulties posed by the “silver tsunami” and an ageing society in a proactive manner. The initiative is a new segment that the council is establishing for the healthcare travel business, boosting the industry’s contribution as a vital export service to the country.

Future of medical tourism in Malaysia

The medical tourism sector in Malaysia is on a growth trajectory, with projections indicating a rise to a valuation of $5.1 billion by 2028. The market, which was worth $1.2 billion in 2020, is expected to grow at a consistent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5% from 2021 to 2028.

THE strong recovery in the nation’s medical tourism sector has prompted the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) to revise its targets upwards as it eyes RM7 billion in hospital receipts, with spill-over economic impact valued at almost RM30 billion, for the period of 2022 to 2025.

The council has revised its revenue or hospital receipt target for this year to RM1.7 billion from RM1.5 billion previously, after revenue in 2022 surpassed its initial target of RM800 million to reach RM1.3 billion. The country saw an influx of healthcare traveller arrivals last year stemming from pent-up demand during the pandemic.

Benefits of health tourism for Malaysia

Affordable costs, high standards of care, and quick access to top-notch care are the three offered benefits of Malaysian Medical Tourism. Malaysia’s major advantage over other nations is its ability to save money.

Where can medical tourists go in Malaysia?

However, medical tourists are directed to seek their healthcare options from three of their designated hospitals: Malacca; Kuala Lumpur; and Penang – Flagship Medical Tourism Hospital .The hospitals are well accessible and are located close to various local attractions

Potential of medical tourism in Malaysia

Malaysia’s healthcare travel industry, branded Malaysia Healthcare, is considered a key economic growth driver, with a potential to contribute up to RM2 billion to the economy by 2025 with estimated spillover effects on air travel to accommodation, food and beverage, and leisure activities

 Impact of medical tourism in Malaysia

There is an upward trend in healthcare travellers seeking treatment in Malaysia, including from Indonesia, Vietnam, China and India. There has also been an increase in tourism arrivals, which contributed between RM3 billion and RM4 billion to the gross domestic product, resulting in a positive economic impact.

Future of medical tourism in Malaysia

THE strong recovery in the nation’s medical tourism sector has prompted the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) to revise its targets upwards as it eyes RM7 billion in hospital receipts, with spillover economic impact valued at almost RM30 billion, for the period of 2022 to 2025.

Medical tourism draws high-end tourist from developed countries to developing nations and in turn, gives the country an economic boost not only to the major cities but also to smaller regions that are rich in traditional healing methods when discovered.

Example of health tourism in Malaysia

Cosmetic Surgery: Renowned for its cosmetic surgery offerings, Malaysia attracts medical tourists seeking procedures like breast augmentation, liposuction, and facelifts, contributing to its popularity in this field.

What is Malaysia ranked in healthcare in the world?

Malaysia, with a score of 95 out of 100, was ranked first in the Best Healthcare in the World category of the 2019 International Living Annual Global Retirement Index.

Medical tourism visa in Malaysia

The Malaysia Medical eVisa is an official travel document that allows eligible nationals to travel to Malaysia for medical reasons, Applicants must have a letter of appointment or proof of medical treatment to be able to enter the country.

The tests include for Malaysia Visa Medical:

  • A general examination.
  • An overview of your entire medical history.
  • Blood tests for Hepatitis B & C, Syphilis and HIV.
  • Urine tests.
  • Chest x-ray.

Why Malaysia is considered as one of the most unique countries

Made up of ethnic Malay, Chinese, Indian, and other indigenous ‘Bumiputera’ groups, Malaysia is also known for is diverse, multicultural society. In fact, in the Bornean states of Sabah and Sarawak, there is a myriad of indigenous ethnic groups with their own unique language, culture and heritage.

Unique to the medical tourism sector in Malaysia is that it is one of the few countries in the region where it is promoted by the government. This gives tourists assurance of quality, safety standards and regulations (laws regarding medical care) within the industry.

Why is Malaysia famous for medical tourism?

Malaysia has emerged as one of the preferred destinations for medical tourists given its highly-specialised medical treatment options, reasonable fees and patient comfort coupled with experienced medical experts who are fully equipped to meet patient demands.

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